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Atlas Air Pilots Released from Talks

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Happy to have a Job.....
Mar 14, 2002
Atlas Air, Pilots Released From Talks; Strike Countdown Begins
By Rip Watson

Washington, May 28 (Bloomberg) -- Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. and its pilots union were released from federal contract mediation, starting a countdown toward a possible strike at the largest shipper of freight for other airlines.

The National Mediation Board, which oversees airline labor talks, released the sides from talks, company spokeswoman Rachel Berry said. By law, a strike or lockout could begin following a 30- days cooling-off period. The Air Line Pilots Association and the company resumed talks last month after the union turned down a contract offer in February.

About 70 percent of union members, who include pilots and flight engineers, turned down what would have been their first contract after 20 months of talks. More than 750 of Atlas's 1,100 workers are pilots and flight engineers, the company said on March 22, when it announced a layoff of 40 to 170 pilots because of a shipping slowdown caused a worldwide economic slump.

``We have worked very hard over the past two years to reach an agreement that will be fair to both the company and our crew members,'' Berry said. ``The company has put its last, best offer on the table. The economics are not going to change. We remain optimistic that if they are willing to continue direct negotiation, we can reach an agreement.''

The union could not immediately be reached for comment.

The shares of Purchase, New York-based Atlas fell 67 cents to $11.23 and have declined 23 percent this year.
It's going to get interesting now......

It's official........
After due consideration, your MEC voted unanimously, to respectfully decline the offer of binding arbitration from the Board.

The NMB has advised both parties late this afternoon that we are released to a 30 day cooling off period, ending at 1201 AM EDT , June 28, 2002. During a 30 day cooling off period, it is generally held that the parties will at some point, begin a dialog which may result in agreement over the issues still open in negotiations.

It is important to understand that your MEC and through our direction, the Negotiating Committee, have always been open to this process. We have continually and steadfastly maintained that only through open, fair and honest dialog could we find an amicable agreement for both sides.

Unfortunately, last week in issuing the letter which was their quote “last-best” offer, the Company chose a path of confrontation over a path of reasonable discussion.

Your Negotiating Committee, in concert with the MEC, ALPA advisory staff and others had put together a comprehensive economic proposal. One that was based on your input’s, polling data, publicly known information about Atlas and other issues. We agreed that the last thing we wanted to have happen was a second failed T/A. So did the NMB. So did, we thought, Atlas management.

Our proposal was one which we felt, while not providing all the fixes we would all like T/A, would address the key issues: Compensation, Gateway, Scheduling (days of service), the No Strike LOA, and the issue of non seniority list check airmen in the Training Center.

In some of these areas, we had found common ground and had agreement. Others needed a bit more work to finish up. And a couple would have required more work, but could have, in our opinion been satisfactorily resolved in a relatively short period of time. In days, not weeks.

Unfortunately, The company’s letter took away the ability for the NMB to offer their mediation services and us the ability to discuss and negotiate on the remaining open areas to be concluded. Again, we want to be clear: The letter from the company was a take it or leave it type of proposition

Where does this put us today Now that the NMB has released the parties into the cooling off period, the Strategic Preparedness Committee has become the Strike Committee. The staff which did such a great job there before is still in place and will be fully operational within 72 hours. All related functions to the SPC are ready, since the only action we took last fall was to put them in “hibernation,” not dismantle them.

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